Troy University ‘preps’ students for Peace Corps

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Sarah Mountain

Staff Writer

Troy University’s Career Services Department held a presentation last Thursday about student volunteers for the Peace Corps and the Peace Corps prep program offered by Troy.

Kenyatta Spiller, the Peace Corps recruiter for the state of Alabama, spent three years as a volunteer in Botswana and Zambia and has been recruiting all over the state since her return in late 2018. The corps, founded in 1961, works on the principle of promoting world peace through service and understanding.

Potential new volunteers must go through an application and interview process in order to be invited to travel with the corps. Service periods last for a minimum of 27 consecutive months in different countries. 

Volunteers receive housing, 24-hour access to medical care, a living stipend, student loan deferment and 48 days of vacation time. After their service period has ended, volunteers receive about $8,000 in transition funds, graduate school benefits, federal employment opportunities and more. 

There are six different sectors of service, but all majors are able to apply to be a volunteer, and it is preferred that you have an undergraduate degree before volunteering. 

Spiller stressed that interested parties should go through the Peace Corps prep program offered by the university as it increases your chances of being accepted as a volunteer. The prep program is offered through the Center for Student Success in Eldridge Hall and is comprised of three major components. 

First, students will meet with Hillarie Legg, an academic adviser in Eldridge, to weave classes into their schedule that can be credited to the prep program. Legg can also help students find which service sector their major is most compatible with. 

Second, students will undergo resume reviews and mock interviews with Career Services to prepare themselves as best as possible for their application and interview with a recruiter. 

“This (resume) is not your typical one-pager,” Spiller said. “We give you up to three pages where you can list coursework, study abroad stuff, if you’re a part of any student organizations, you can list all that.

“You get those three pages to really show us who you are and how you can contribute to the Peace Corps.”

Lastly, Career Services will work with students to find what service projects can be credited to the program. The program requires a minimum of 50 service hours to be complete. 

“Depending on what you’ve done, you can bring in some service hours,” said Lauren Cole, the coordinator of Career Services. “Say you’ve been on a mission trip with a church or you were volunteering consistently with a Boys and Girls Club in your community or some kind of service that relates to your track.

“Then, on a case-by-case basis, we can approve some of those service hours that you bring to the program.”

Spiller said the program is very competitive, so students should be prepared with an application as robust as possible. She also said that students who get involved with their recruiter sooner and work with her through the application process are 55% more likely to be accepted into the program. 

Cole would like to see an increase in graduates with their Peace Corps prep certification from year to year. Any additional questions about the program can be directed to troycareer@troy.edu or to kspiller@peacecorps.gov.

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